Ordering plants by mail

How big is the risk?

We always send you the largest and healthiest plants we have at the moment.

Top Tropicals plant packing

Through many years of shipping plant expereince, we learn how to pack plants properly to minimize any damage during transportation.
We use many different packing meterials and fillers to ensure plants have a safe trip: mesh, craft paper, sleeves, air pillows, cardboard inserts, etc.

However shipping causes certain stress to a plant, mostly because of the fact that a plant spends a few days in a dark box. Sometimes a carrier may damage boxes during handling.

Most of plants survive the trip with no problems or with a minimal stress (some leaf drop may occur), and recover very quickly. Others may requres some extra care after the trip.

Remember a plant is a live creature. Imagine youself (or a little kitten) trapped in a box for a few days without light, fresh air, food and water, while somebody keeps pushing, throwing, kicking the box back and forth, up and down. Scary, isn't it? Years ago, before we started this business, we could hardly believe that any plant can survive like this. However, our experience proved that plants can take a certain amount of stress without serious damage.

  1. Light
    Usuially 4-6 days in a dark doesn't hurt the plant. Possible problems: dropping leaves (it often happens with bougainvilleas). PLant it according to instructions and allow a few days for buds and maybe 2-3 weeks for new leaves to grow. Don't overwater: no leaves - no evaporation, your plant doesn't need much water without leaves.

  2. Water
    Some plants can stay healthy for weeks without watering, if they are kept in dark. No light - no evaporation.

  3. Roots stress
    Normally we pull plants out of the pots, toss of extra soil and wrap rootball in plastic film to retain water in the soilmix. Upon arrival, you re-pot the plant. All these procedures create extra stress on root system. You should keep your plant in a protected location away from direct sunlight untill it's root system recovers (1-2 weeks, sometimes more).

  4. Physical damage
    It doesn't happen often. We use special packing techniques that may include all or some of the following depending on a plant: wrap paper, air pillow, special box inserts. All of these provide maximum safe transpostation. We do our best. Does the delivery service? Unfortunatelly, sometimes they don't, and it is beyond our control. In case of serious damage, only the carrier can be responsible for it. If it's just a broken branch or even part of a stem - just let it grow, take care of your plant and it will respond to your love. We understand your frustration if damage occurs, and usually offer our customers a discount or a free plant with his/her next order.

From our experience...

Recovering Soursop after shipping

From Irene & Marjorie, PA: We wanted to share our pics with you (after Summer). I attached also the photo of the way the tree looked before your advice (back in April). The big is the one we almost lost and you gave us these instructions and it came back. These were your instructions:
"The soursop is one of my favorite fruits and I was so sad to hear yours may be dead. Good news - the tree looks great! Yes, it does have some cold damage but I'm surprised it still has leaves on it at all! In cooler weather, they typically drop all of their leaves and stay that way until spring. You can remove the damaged leaves and it will resprout new growth with the warmer temperatures."


...One customer complained that he didn't receive his order placed 2 weeks ago. We checked the delivery confirmation number. It said it was delivered. In course of investigation it was discovered that the mail-man left a package by mailbox that was next to a garbage can. Waste Service picked up both garbage and the package... The customer was reimbursed by the carrier for the order cost...

This Stephanotis took a trip of 34 days long!

...Our customer ordered it and left for a vacation, she completely forgot about her order! After she didn't pick up her package from the Post Office for a few weeks, it was returned to sender (us). We opened the box and of course we saw a dry stick. However, Tatiana gave it a chance, planted back in a pot and placed in shade, and forgot about it again, being sure it won't make it... We found this plant in 3 weeks with new leaves growing!..

These Jasmines Sambac travelled for 3 weeks

...(It was a wrong address case). When we packed them, they were nice and blooming. Of course they don't look as fresh here, but even after losing some leaves they will definitely recover...

...One customer has sent us the plant back (without contacting us) saying it looks wilted to him and he wants to try another one. He stuck it in a box without any wrapping. It was Cuphea Ignea. The plant arrived to us completely dry and looked like herbarium. Again Tatiana gave it a chance, and now after a few weeks it looks fresh and healthy again, starting to bloom. That customer even didn't bother to water it...

...Jean received a wilted Cordia Lutea on April 7 and was very dissappointed, she sent us a photo of the plant upon arrival. We suggested to give it some time to recover, and in 3 weeks we received a positive update from her with a new picture! Congratulations with your green thumb, Jean!..

"You had asked for an update on that Cordia lutea that I had ordered several weeks ago. It seems to be recovering well and looks like a happy little tree. I have attached a picture of it in the small pot in which it was planted (so as not to overwhelm the root system). It will be planted in a larger pot very soon.

Again, thank you!
Jean Exnicios"

Photo of the plant right after shipping and 3 weeks later:

These two plants of Cananga on the photos travelled 9 days because of the wrong address provided. They look pretty much stressed out but still have good chances to survive under a proper care. Even some flowers didn't drop off.

A funny experience:

One of our customers ordered Litchi tree plus mango collection (3 trees), but upon arrival she said it was only one plant in the box...
"...I received the Lychee tree yesterday--it looks healthy and beautiful. I ordered 3 other trees with that order, and I'm not sure whether they should've come with that order or not..."
We were confused because our records showed we shipped all 4 trees, and the registered box weight showed 4 plants, we felt like we were crazy... Next day she wrote to us:
"Don't worry, you're not crazy, my husband is. He said the box was small containing only the one plant, then packed up the box and took it to work to recycle the packing material. Around 6 PM tonight he unpacked it, and, yep, there were all of the trees. I'm really, really sorry for causing any concern, and I'll be sure to do the unpacking next time. The plants are beautiful, they shipped promptly, your service was
great, and I'm really embarrassed..."

Please make sure to unpack the whole package!!!

Growing rare plants is fun but takes both time and effort.
Please be patient with your new patients! Good luck!

Read more about establishing plants and problem solving